India Missile Launch: Chinese Government Reacts Cautiously, Media Slam India

 
on April 19 2012 11:13 AM
Agni-V
A surface-to-surface Agni V missile is launched from the Wheeler Island off the eastern Indian state of Odisha April 19, 2012. India test-fired the long range missile capable of reaching deep into China and Europe on Thursday, thrusting the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear weapons capabilities. Reuters

The Chinese government Thursday reacted diplomatically to India's successful launch of the nuclear capable long-range ballistic missile Agni-V while the government-controlled media lashed out at India for attempting to compete with China.

The Chinese government said that both the countries enjoyed sound relations and were not rivals. However, the sources in the Chinese establishment said that the launch can give rise to another round of arms race in the region, according to PTI.

China has taken note of reports on India's missile launch. The two countries have sound relationship. During the (recently held) BRICS meeting (in Delhi) the leadership had consensus to take the relationship further and to push forward bilateral strategic cooperative partnership, PTI quoted Liu Weimi, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, as saying.

However, the Chinese media were very critical of India's missile launch. Some of the newspapers ridiculed India's missile launch while some other media were bitter in reaction.

A headline on state-run English daily Global Times read: India being swept up by missile delusion. In its report, it commented: India should not overestimate its strength. Even if it has missiles that could reach most parts of China that does not mean it will gain anything from being arrogant during disputes with China.

Criticizing the West over its approval of India's missile policy, it said, India is still poor and lags behind in infrastructure construction, but its society is highly supportive of developing nuclear power and the West chooses to overlook India's disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties.  

The state television CCTV also was critical of India's missile launch. The missile launch will not help solve border disputes. Accuracy (of the missile) is a vital question. Several tests needed, Su Xiaohui, a scholar at the China Institute of International Studies told CCTV, according to the Hindustan Times.

While the US has allayed any concerns over India's missile testing, saying that India had a solid non-proliferation record. They're engaged with the international community on non- proliferation issues. And Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has attended both of the nuclear security summits, the one in Washington and then Seoul, Mark Toner the State Department spokesperson said in a news briefing.

With the successful launch of the missile, which has a range of 3,100 miles, India has joined the elite club of countries with long-range nuclear missile capability. Only five countries - US, UK, Russia, France and China - have such long range missiles.

However, according to the analysts, Agni-V is an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) and not an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), because to qualify as an ICBM, the range of the missile should 5,500 kilometers while Agni- V has a range of 5,000 kilometers only.

Agni-V was test fired from Wheeler Island off Odisha at 8: 07 am Thursday, and the missile accurately hit the target which was 3,100 miles away, DRDO sources said.

The successful launch is considered as a significant achievement for India as it would help it neutralize the threat from China. However, the DRDO said that the missile launch was not a threat to any particular nation and it was purely for defensive purpose.

This missile is about neutralizing the threat coming from China, Uday Bhaskar, an analyst at the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation, told Bloomberg. The tests are about trying to create equality with China rather than trying to outdo it.

Agni-V, the most advanced version of the indigenously built Agni series, was powered by solid rocket propellants that could be transported by road, a Reuters report said. The first missile in the series was launched in 1989.

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